Photography Guidance for Adults

General images of events

There is no legal power to prevent photography or filming in a public place. However, certain individuals may visit sporting events to take inappropriate photographs or video footage of adults and this could include adults with care and support needs. All organisations should be vigilant about this possibility.

At many events organisers will take general images or footage of the event, the site, opening and closing ceremonies, and so on.
If you intend to be taking photographs or are filming at an event, it is good practice to inform people and ask them to let you know if they do not want to be involved.

Sometimes organisations want to use photos or films for specific usage, for example a press release, social media, leaflet or website. In the case of large group photos e.g. of a closing ceremony, you would not be expected to seek individual consent.

Consent for specific use of images

When an adult is the main subject or would be recognised, you should:

  • Seek specific consent from the adult, letting them know how exactly their image will be used. If they lack capacity to consent do not use their photo.
  • Before using any photographs or film footage for publicity purposes, show them to the person/people concerned for approval
  • Remember that consent for use of the photo or film is only for that one purpose and should not be reused in any other promotional event
  • Ensure that people have a way of withdrawing their consent for the use of their image
  • Think about the images that you are taking or filming and how they portray people. Consider whether people are appropriately dressed. For example even if the person has consented to having the picture taken consider if it may be better if they wore a t-shirt or track suit over a swim suit.

Consent for specific use of images of people with care and support needs

Some organisations provide specific activities targeted at people with care and support needs. For example, dementia friendly events. If you wish to take photographs or will be filming people with care and support needs here are some additional issues to consider:

  • Adults must be able to consent to their image being used
  • Legally, the only person who can offer consent for the use of their image is the adult themselves. Family members such as adult children, parents, spouses or siblings and support workers/ personal assistants should not be approached to sign consent forms for adults
  • Information about how the images will be used should be provided to an adult in an accessible format, using for example, easy read language or pictures.
  • If you have any concerns that an adult does not have the capacity to give consent to photography or filming, or understand that photographs or films are being taken during an activity, you must discuss this with them, including if appropriate, any support person or personal assistant for the adult.
  • If after this conversation you feel that the adult still cannot give consent then do not use their photo.

Find out more about capacity and helping people with decision making.


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